Jonathan Edwards - Herald Column

Let’s Bring the World Cup Back to Wales

As readers read this weeks edition of the Herald the ninth Rugby World Cup would have began in Japan. For Wales, the Rugby World Cup is a momentous occasion, and the eyes of the whole nation will be focused on events in the far east over the coming two months.

The Japanese have clearly made an incredible effort as hosts. The stadiums look fantastic, and although rugby is not a major sport as it is here in Wales it appears as if the whole nation has embraced the tournament. I’m sure readers were as amazed as me in seeing a 15,000 seat stadium sold out for a Welsh training session and the crowd singing a word perfect rendition of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.

Apart from a love for rugby, international sport provides an unbeatable opinion to put Wales on the map. That is why I have consistently supported creating Welsh teams for all sports from cricket to an athletics team competing at the Olympics. As a promotional economic tool in the modern world, nothing can compare to sport, and it should be a strategic priority of the Welsh Government not only to ensure that as many of our people as possible get the opportunity to compete at the highest possible level, but to use sport as a vital element of our efforts to promote Wales. Over the next two months the Welsh rugby team will do more to further the international interests of Wales than the British Governments stuck up ‘Great’ campaign that we are currently tied into.

I would like to particularly wish the Carmarthenshire contingent representing our country well. It’s a testament to the hard work of our schools and rugby teams locally that so many of the current squad come from this part of the world. I thought the Welsh Rugby Unions squad announcement video naming the players chosen via a clip from their respective grassroots clubs was pure genius. It was great to see Llanymddyfri, Clwb Athletic Caerfyrddin, Castell Newydd Emlyn and Hendy Gwyn ar Daf get a share of the limelight. Wales is a community of communities or it is nothing - and Welsh rugby’s strength is founded on our community game.

Wales enter the tournament as amongst the favourites with a genuine shot at global glory. Let’s get behind the team, pull together as a nation and hope we can go one better this time than our two previous semi final appearances.

Cymru Am Byth.


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